Resistance – 3 DOH – 0

“Controlling – Abusive – and Manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else.” – Darlene Ouimet

After lording it over the population through health protocols and fear driven rules and regulations, it seems that the past few weeks have been a series of hits against Darth Duque’s forces. First came the challenge from representatives of the Senior Citizen’s groups who started politely but quickly escalated their challenge against the DOH insistence that even if senior citizens are fully vaccinated, they should not be allowed to go outdoors and should remain “prisoners” in their own homes. In spite of the science and pointing out the value of using COVID vaccination passes as an incentive for millions of unvaccinated seniors, the Darth Duque forces stood their ground, using Malacañang as their shield of protection like an off the shelf deodorant readily available to cover up the stench.

A week later, the IATF dictatorship presumed that the province of Cebu was being rebellious and defiant and therefore all OFW flights to Cebu-Mactan International Airport were diverted to NAIA just to show the Cebuanos that Imperial Manila was fully in control even of the air space. What the IATF Boys Club did not expect was the methodical, scientific, validated and verified presentation that Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia would make in front of President Rodrigo Duterte, and the subsequent public relations kill shot that came in the form of another public presentation of the same, plus a bonus feature of critical commentary on the side, all done on social media. If that was not enough, the governor repeatedly mentioned and pointed out that all the information and data she was using were from the DOH, as if rubbing their faces in their own work.

In short, the presentation showed that the government was ending up spending almost three times in millions, the amount it needed to, for hotel accommodations when the government could have simply tested OFWs on the first day, got the result by the third day at the latest, sent OFWs home and test them on the 5th or 7th day while continuing to be under quarantine at home. Tests done, money saved, OFWs and RFs home with families, unless they tested positive on day 1. The presentation also showed questionable data or points that should be investigated, such as actual causes of death during the pandemic because a number of non-COVID deaths have been reported as COVID because of the case rate reimbursement from PhilHealth. This has been a serious concern ever since the beginning of the pandemic and has been mentioned in several other places, especially Metro Manila. Governor Garcia also lambasted the “intellectual dishonesty” or alarmist effects that clumping of COVID-19 cases in four island-provinces creates under the new regional basis of reporting being done by the DOH.

After coming out black and blue from their encounter with Gov. Gwen Garcia, the IATF Boy’s Club will now have to contend with the push back from Mayor Isko Moreno and a couple of physicians who have finally spoken out against the face shield or have suggested that the piece of equipment be declared optional or only in high risk areas but no longer in outdoor locations or where there are very few people and where social distancing is naturally or visibly observed.

In addition to that, another possible hit against the IATF and the DOH concerns the actual number of vaccinations that they have been reporting, since it was recently announced that almost half or more of those who have received vaccinations have not returned for their second jab. This situation could invalidate the initial number of reported vaccinations since they were never completed. I remember this issue being raised in an international news item where the resource person pointed out that countries should only report completed vaccinations and not first dose only. If the country’s reported numbers of vaccinations are incomplete, then we are not technically at the top of the charts and the failure to complete previous vaccinations is going to be mud in the face of the IATF and DOH.

Another bit of concern, in terms of vaccinations, are reports or claims that some people have intentionally not returned for their second shot of Sinovac, claiming to have been unavailable at the time, but are now lining up for western vaccines. What then are LGUs supposed to do with the stored balance or allocated shots for first dose recipients who’ve intentionally invalidated their shots? Given the levels of vaccine hesitancy, choosy individuals aligning their choice with future travel plans and requirements of host countries, the refusal of the IATF Boys Club to make logical adjustments and compromise regarding rules and regulations, one thing is certain — things are simply going to get more complicated and the IATF will slowly but surely find itself isolated from the reality on the ground.

When I started on this article, I meant to write a piece portraying the IATF officials as the equivalent of over protective, over bearing parents who want to control everything in their children’s lives without realizing that their children are already grown up middle-aged adults! Unfortunately, the current situation and tensions make it difficult to inject humor, especially when you consider that senior citizens 65 years and above, rich or poor, have been detained in their homes, rooms or condos for 15 months or nearly one year and a half. It is difficult to make light of the obstinate, pig-headed attitude of the IATF Boys Club in refusing practically any and all suggestions that could ease or release the tension and difficulties experienced by IATF Detainees who are COVID-free, vaccinated or simply observing and sharing solutions that they don’t see. It is hard to respect those who don’t respect others.

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